Monday, April 27, 2009


This week I am determined to be motivated about research. I feel like I need a vacation, but I won't feel like I've earned it until I get some good results. Something worth writing about at least. Something worth telling my advisor about in our rare meetings, without following it by " I'm not sure". I know what I need to do, in general, I just need to crank it out! Away with distractions!

This past weekend winter finally decided to depart, and every person in the greater Boston area poured outside on Saturday in their summer fashions, strolling or sunning in the park. Lots of people in bikinis in the middle of the city, which seems strange to me, since there is no body of water to swim in there. James and I dug around in the garden plot, sifting out rocks and planting little pumpkin plants. My lettuce seeds have mostly sprouted and are still less than 2 cm in leaf-span. I have faith that they'll get bigger. Only two snow pea seeds have sprouted, and they seem to have been born with like 20 leaves already. So weird! It fascinates me that all plants have their own quirks, likes and dislikes, even though they all start in the dirt, drink water, and absorb sunlight. They all have different leaf shapes, growth rates, sizes, weaknesses, personalities. Sometimes I just go out there to look at the little seedlings. Also I think my presence shoos away the birds, who think the garden is their playground, digging for worms and taking dirt baths in my plot!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

anti-instant gratification

There are some glorious orange tulips blooming outside my lab building, with yellow centers. Sometimes I walk to the student center just so I can walk past and look at them. They close up when the sun starts to go down. I recently received the fruits of my latest online shopping quest, which are some summery clothes. Now the fact that it's still 35 degrees every night and our hair-tearingly mind-numbingly slow ascent towards summer is only slightly more painful.

I check on my seed starter trays every night. They're sitting in my sunniest, albeit not very sunny, window, and I spray water in each cube to make sure they stay moist. The sugar pie pumpkin and the banana squash seedlings are clearly the strongest. The lettuce seeds sprouted first but now some have already died. They didn't much look like lettuce anyway. My itty-bitty petunia seeds have made some itty-bitty sprouts with leaves the size of a 12-point-font apostrophe, and three of my weird-looking ranunculus seeds FINALLY sprouted after more than 4 weeks of my begging them to grow me some drop-dead gorgeous flowers. All the artsy blogs these days have photos of ranunculus, and it just makes me long for them that much more!

My recent demotivation in research has translated into an abundance of sports-playing. I would frankly always rather be running around after a soccer ball, squash ball, basketball, or unihoc ball instead of browsing the internet news. I am trying to regularly attend this pilates PE class again, because the stretching feels amazing and the core workouts could really help me with rowing and probably everything else in life. I ran a 10k in Cohasset a week ago, and I also want to keep up with running. (I swear I will when the weather gets in the 60s!) I am beyond certain that these athletic activities are what keep me sane in grad school.

I got an invite yesterday to the wedding of an elementary school friend. Our families were really close up until we moved away from New York, and even after that, in fact. I haven't seen her in a few years, but I'm really excited to see her and her family, and maybe visit some of the old places I remember from our old hometown! I lived there for 13 years - longest time I've lived in any one place. I could only hope that it hasn't changed a bit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

could this day be any lamer

Well, for starters, I feel lame for posting on this blog zero times in the past month. What is the point of a blog if you don't post anything? But today was a terrible day, and what better to post on a blog than a nice frantic rant?

For starters, I spent a couple hours yesterday making an awesome bike seat cover out of this amazing black-and-white oilcloth I bought in San Francisco last year, starting by tracing a pattern out on paper, fitting the paper to the seat, cutting out the cloth, taping the cloth in place, sewing bright orange zigzag seams, tapering the front, fitting and sewing on an elastic, and admiring my handiwork. I knew it needed some sort of back attachment to keep it from sliding forward, but I thought I'd give it a test ride on the bike this morning to see if it was comfortable. I guess it was too comfortable because it fell off somewhere in the first quarter-mile of my ride to campus, and I didn't even notice! I backtracked all the way to my house and didn't catch a glimpse of it. I even took the same route home at the end of the day, visually scrutinizing every piece of trash in every dirty puddle, cursing my forgetfulness and naivete. I wanted to tear my hair out. And then cry about it. It didn't help that it also rained on my way home, and that my bike brakes do not work in the rain, and I had no rain jacket.

I sometimes have issues with clumsiness. Like I must knock over at least 20 things in a given day, onto the floor, and then in the act of picking it up I knock something else over. Sometimes this is accentuated when I have my kickstand-less bike, and I'm trying to wrestle that U-lock onto the wheel and frame and rack, while balancing a tote bag on my shoulder, with a helmet tucked under my armpit, coffee cup between my knees, jacket over my elbow. In case you can't tell, this inevitably spells disaster. Daily disaster! And today I just really wasn't having it. Ich habe die Nase voll!

To top it all off (why not?), this weather sucks and I got a last-minute email that says I'm in the rowing lineup tomorrow, which means I have to wake up at 5:30am, brutal in its difference from my normal 8am wake-up time. And it had better not be raining and cold! And the coxswain had better have his sh*t together! And the launch had better be working!

Also, it seems that my squash shoes (which I also wear for unihoc and basketball) are suddenly too small and have contributed to the bruising of my right big toe. Now half of the toenail is purlish-black. Just in time for summer sandal season... please don't fall off!

Looks like the only cure for this situation is some mint chocolate chip ice cream...